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Old 13-10-2020, 23:18   #1
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Ultra anchor testing

About six months ago a few of us here signed up to test the Ultra anchors, gracefully provided by the manufacturer, and compare them with other current generation anchors we normally use. I saw Panope posted his video report recently, but did not want to contaminate his wonderful thread, hence I am starting this one. Please post your observations on the subject anchor testing as well as relevant questions and suggestions here.

I finally got to replacing the Rocna 20 with the 46 lb Ultra and so far used it only once over the October 3-4 weekend. As I am planning on cruising locally throughout the winter, I will be adding more observations here over the next few months.

Here is what I observed so far after using the Ultra in a mud bottom of Echo Bay at Sucia Island in San Juan Archipelago in about 35 feet of water:
Setting, unfortunately, was inconclusive, for it was in light wind and opposing current conditions, so I could not detect the biting moment. It felt as if it took a little while, maybe 30-40 feet of dragging, before the set happened, but it was just a subjective feeling. Maybe next time.
Holding. Since it was the first time I used the new anchor, I gave it a moderate scope releasing 120 feet of chain. It held properly while backing up at 2500 RPM (45 hp Yanmar, fixed prop). The wind, while at anchor, was light, no more than 10 knots. I am sure I will get better winds during the winter.
Breaking up from the bottom took more effort than with the Rocna. I had to motor up a little after waiting for about 5 minutes with the bar tight vertical chain. I suppose this is a good sign. The anchor came up clean with only a small trace of mud on the bottom of the fluke. In this anchorage, Rocna always brought up a bucket of mud in its concave scope.
So, the initial thoughts are: so far so good. In addition to normal anchoring routine, I am planning to test it at some point with a short scope, such as 2:1, and also in one particular spot in Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island where I could not set the Rocna due to a very soft mud and weeds combination (it set, and required usual effort breaking it up, but was slowly dragging with the 2500 RPM application), which was the only one local spot out of about 20 where I anchored in the area which the Rocna did not like. I welcome other suggestions what to try.
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Old 14-10-2020, 01:08   #2
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Re: Ultra anchor testing

I've always felt extreme short scope anchoring with chain rode is a dubious test for several reasons:

* We don't know the actual scope at the bottom unless we either observe or do a lot of calculations. Variables include chain weight in proportion to rode tension and water depth. It could be effectively infinite scope in deeper water with heavy chain. In shallow water with light chain the shank will lift considerably. No anchor will bite at true 2:1 scope (fiber rode).

* If we test at true scope (say, using a fiber rode with no chain), is short scope setting an indicator of normal scope behavior? I assure you, it is not. Some of the very best anchors stink at true short scope (testing with fiber rode and load cell, not guessing). The same angles that make them set quickly prevent them from engaging or going deep. A true 2:1 angle places the fluke about parallel to the bottom, with no possibility of digging. At slightly greater scope most will bite, but they will not go deep and bury.

It may be a good test for your boat, under the specific conditions you tested. But someone else using lighter chain in shallow water will likely get a different result, because they are running a different test.
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Old 14-10-2020, 01:26   #3
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Re: Ultra anchor testing

I agree with the above, including that the value may be limited to my boat. Even then, what I truly need to do is to test the short scope in 300 feet rather than in 30. However, I happened to observe good holding performance with the Rocna at 1.7:1 scope (50 feet of 5/16 chain in 30 feet of water) and am simply curious whether or not Ultra can do the same. Certainly agree that the practical value of this knowledge is quite low.
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Old 14-10-2020, 03:36   #4
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Re: Ultra anchor testing

The type of bottom makes a big difference too. Whether it gets a quick, secure bite, before the chain starts to straighten out.

As you say, for comparison.
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Old 14-10-2020, 05:19   #5
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Re: Ultra anchor testing

Hmmm. Thanks for your effort and for posting, Lost Horizons.

Unfortunately you and your cohort are not likely to generate anything an engineer (or a scientist) would consider to be more that "anecdotal" evidence of one anchor being superior to another. Real evidence would require that the two anchors be exposed to exactly the same conditions and perform differently. That then requires set test conditions, which means somewhat artificial, as in lab versus real world, anchoring. Then it would require that the two be tested in other scenarios, such as sand versus mud versus rock versus grass, because we all know that a single anchor is not likely to shine in all conditions.

In short, there is a difference between a manufacturer generating testimonials and generating evidence of performance that is above criticism.
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Old 14-10-2020, 09:05   #6
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Re: Ultra anchor testing

Quote:
Originally Posted by tkeithlu View Post

Unfortunately you and your cohort are not likely to generate anything an engineer (or a scientist) would consider to be more that "anecdotal" evidence of one anchor being superior to another.
Certainly, and it was not the intention here to be more than that. The original intention of that little experiment was to get a more expensive anchor than more conventional ones, such as the Rocna, use it for a while, and then decide to either keep it and pay for it at that time, or return it to the manufacturer and owe them nothing. Basically, a binary decision to spend the money or not once the product is tried. As far as I remember, the manufacturer offered this exercise after the discussion on this forum in the beginning of this year that their anchor is hardly better than the rest of the new gen anchors, but is pricier. I should have included this intro in the OP, thanks for noting this deficiency!

So the real value of this thread will appear sometime in February-March when the “keep or not” decision(s) will be posted here. Until then, I thought that I may also share the anecdotal use observations as an added bonus.
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Old 14-10-2020, 10:31   #7
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Re: Ultra anchor testing

That sounds OK, Lost Horizon. Let us all know what you think when your money is on the line!
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Old 15-10-2020, 09:51   #8
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Re: Ultra anchor testing

Greetings fellow mariners,

I thought I might weigh in with my thoughts and prose. I am rebuilding and outfitting a 36’ catamaran. It came with a 22 pound lewmar hanging on the boat. Way to small for my liking. I have rebuilt and reinforced, with significant backing plates, the anchor windlass and roller structures. I installed a Maxwell RC8 windlass with rope capstan running 5/16” G43 chain. On our last cat we had a 45 pound, then a 65 pound when we cruised Alaska, Mantus M1 and loved them. Our new boat design makes a roll bar anchor challenging to stow. I sold the Mantus after trying to make it work with no success and bought a 45 pound Rocna as the roll bar has a lower profile. You can see in the attached pics that I was able to make it work but I wasn’t totally happy with it. Last week I bought a 46 pound Ultra and you can see by the pics that it fits perfectly in the roller. Yes I know my shackles aren’t moused. As you can see the swivel is not yet installed. Some idiot, we don’t need to mention names to protect the morons of the world, might have accidentally knocked the swivel pin through that little hole between the trampoline and deck you can see in the picture. One in million shot I suppose. I also learned from this closely controlled scientific experiment that the ultra swivel pins are negatively buoyant, which means they don’t float. If they designed floating swivel pins I wouldn’t be writing this right now. So it is a $90 lesson and a week long wait to have a new swivel pin sent from Florida to Seattle. Anyway, I haven’t actually deployed or anchored with either of them so most of what I write will be useless to most and ridiculed by many. If it is of any consolation, Steve(S/V Panope) is on his way to my house, as I type, to pick up the rocna anchor. I contacted him and offered it up for his testing regiment as I noticed he had not yet been able to do a rigorous test of it. I am looking forward to the results from him and all others as I make my decision on which one to make permanent on my anchor roller. Right now I am leaning towards the Ultra on the roller and the rocna in the chain locker as a spare. Although I also have a Fortress FX-55 folded up in its storage bag so perhaps I am “over anchored”.

Decisions decisions decisions.

Sorry pics are sideways. Turn your phone, computer, tablet or head sideways whichever is easier for you. Or just pretend we are sailing at an extreme angle of heel.

Safe journeys all,
~Jake
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Old 27-01-2021, 18:28   #9
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Re: Ultra anchor testing

I love my Ultra. I have a 60 lb 3/8 hi test on my Corbin 39 has not let me down. I have cruised the SoPac and PNW
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